Image: Jesus with the woman at the well
For to us a child is born, to us a son is given, and the government will be on his shoulders. And he will be called Wonderful Counsellor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. Isaiah 9:6
Wonderful Counsellor (Hebrew Peh-Lah Yah-wats). When able to analyse the original Hebrew, something of the extent of this title can leave the reader astounded.
Peh-Lah (Wonderful) means an extraordinary marvellous wonder, that whilst hard to understand reveals God’s acts of judgement and redemption. And Yag-wats (Counsellor) speaks of one who is able to advise, consult, give counsel, purpose, devise, plan.
How often have we heard this phrase either in the rendition of Handel’s Messiah or within a carol service reading and yet have not plumbed it’s depths or significance. The Hebrew word “pala” indicates a phenomenon lying outside the realm of human explanation; that which is separated from the normal course of events. The same word is used in Psalm 139:6 in just this way: “Such knowledge is too wonderful for me; it is high, I cannot attain it.” It describes something miraculous! By adding the word counsellor we are encouraged to meet with the one who although is beyond our understanding is able to speak truth to us in our situation.
If in need of counsel, surely we would seek wisdom from one who is a wise source. The New Testament sees this fleshed out in a Person as reflected in 1 Corinthians 1:30; One “who became for us wisdom from God”. Christ is able to give us the needed direction for life. How thankful we should be that Isaiah spoke of a Wonderful Counsellor, who is also rightly named the “Mighty God.”
Jesus was a Wonderful Counsellor to those He taught and revealed His divine truths. He taught the multitudes in parables. He sat on hillsides and in boats along the seashore teaching with truthful authority. The true wonder of His teaching and counselling is that He continues to teach us today. He continues to reach to you and me with that same truthful authority.
Any counsellor worth their salt exhibits empathic listening skills. Empathy can be described as the ability to sense others’ emotions and understand what they might be thinking or feeling. Empathy is not simply feeling for someone but feeling with them. In Jesus Christ we can experience his divine empathy and receive his wonderful saving counsel.
Let not the wise his wisdom boast,
The mighty glory in his might,
The rich in flattering riches trust,
Which take their everlasting flight.
The rush of numerous years bears down
The most gigantic strength of man;
And where is all his wisdom gone,
When dust he turns to dust again?
One only gift can justify
The boasting soul that knows his God;
When Jesus doth His blood apply,
I glory in His sprinkled blood.
The Lord, my righteousness, I praise,
I triumph in the love divine,
The wisdom, wealth, and strength of grace,
In Christ through endless ages mine.